shih tzu stomach problems

Shih Tzu Stomach Problems: 2023 Comprehensive Guide

Tummy troubles? Discussing shih tzu stomach problems, their causes, and the best ways to ensure your pet’s digestive happiness.


Shih Tzus are a popular breed of small dogs that originated in China. They are known for their adorable looks, affectionate personalities, and charming demeanor. These dogs have been bred for centuries to be loyal companions, and they make excellent pets for families of all sizes.

However, Shih Tzus are also prone to a variety of health issues, particularly when it comes to their digestive system. It is essential that pet owners have a thorough understanding of common digestive issues that can affect Shih Tzus so they can recognize the symptoms and seek prompt treatment.

Definition of Shih Tzu Breed

Shih Tzus are small, sturdy dogs with long coats and distinctive flat faces. They typically weigh between 9-16 pounds and stand 8-11 inches tall at the shoulder.

The breed is believed to have originated in Tibet over 1,000 years ago as a companion dog for royalty. Today’s Shih Tzu resembles the original breed type very closely but has undergone some changes over time due to breeding practices.

They are now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as one of the toy breeds. Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 10-16 years and require regular grooming due to their long coats.

Importance of Understanding Common Digestive Issues in Shih Tzus

Digestive problems can be especially problematic for small dogs like Shih Tzus because they have less space in their stomachs than larger breeds. This makes them more susceptible to constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestion-related issues.

It is crucial that pet owners understand these common digestive problems so they can recognize when something is wrong with their furry friend’s health. Early detection can lead to faster treatment options and better outcomes for your pet’s health.

By being aware of the potential digestive issues in Shih Tzus, pet owners can take proactive steps to prevent them from occurring. This can include feeding a healthy diet, providing regular exercise, and keeping up with routine visits to the veterinarian.

Overview of the Article

This article will provide an in-depth look at common digestive problems that can affect Shih Tzus. We will cover the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), and pancreatitis.

Additionally, we’ll offer prevention tips to help pet owners avoid these health issues before they occur. By the end of this article, pet owners will have a thorough understanding of what to watch for when it comes to their Shih Tzu’s digestive health and how to keep them as healthy as possible.

Common Digestive Issues in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are a popular dog breed known for their friendly and playful personalities. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues.

One of the most common concerns that Shih Tzu owners face is digestive problems. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common digestive issues that Shih Tzus face and what you can do to prevent or treat them.


Constipation is a condition where your dog has difficulty passing stools or has infrequent bowel movements. It can be caused by a variety of factors including diet, lack of exercise, dehydration, or an underlying medical condition. Some of the symptoms you may notice if your Shih Tzu is constipated include straining to defecate, dry and hard stools, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

To treat constipation, you should first make sure your dog is well-hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water throughout the day. You can also add fiber-rich foods to their diet such as canned pumpkin or green beans.

Daily exercise is also essential for keeping your dog’s bowels moving regularly. If these remedies don’t work or if your dog shows signs of severe discomfort such as vomiting or abdominal pain, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.


Diarrhea is another common digestive issue in Shih Tzus and can be caused by a variety of factors such as changes in diet, food allergies or intolerances, parasites or infections, stress and anxiety among others. Some symptoms you might notice if your Shih Tzu has diarrhea include frequent loose stools that may contain mucus or blood; vomiting; lethargy; dehydration; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and discomfort. Treatment options for diarrhea include withholding food for 12-24 hours and offering small amounts of water or an electrolyte solution.

Once your dog’s symptoms improve, you can gradually reintroduce a bland diet of boiled white rice and boiled lean meat such as chicken or turkey. It’s important to monitor your dog’s condition closely and seek veterinary care if you notice signs of dehydration, blood in the stool, or ongoing diarrhea that doesn’t improve with home remedies.


Vomiting is another common digestive issue in Shih Tzus. It can be caused by eating too much too quickly, eating something that doesn’t agree with their stomach (such as table scraps), stress and anxiety, infections, parasites among others.

Some symptoms you might notice if your Shih Tzu is vomiting include retching, drooling, loss of appetite; lethargy; abdominal pain and discomfort. To treat vomiting at home in dogs, it’s recommended to withhold food for 12 hours to allow their stomachs to rest.

You should then offer small amounts of water every few hours until they can keep it down without vomiting. If your shih tzu continues vomiting after not eating within 12 hours then contact a veterinarian immediately.

Understanding common digestive issues in Shih Tzus is essential for pet owners as it allows them to take preventive measures when necessary and provide prompt treatment when needed. If you suspect that your Shih Tzu has any digestive issues despite home remedies consult with a vet immediately before things escalate further.

Less Common Digestive Issues in Shih Tzus

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): The Silent Killer

While GDV is not a common condition in Shih Tzus, it’s important for pet owners to be aware of its symptoms and treatment options. GDV is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the stomach twists on itself. This twisting can cause the blood supply to the stomach to be cut off, leading to tissue damage and even death.

Symptoms of GDV include bloating, retching, restlessness, and stomach pain. If you suspect your Shih Tzu may have GDV, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.

Treatment options for GDV in Shih Tzus include surgery to untwist the stomach and address any damage that may have occurred. In severe cases, part of the stomach may need to be removed.

Prevention of GDV involves feeding your Shih Tzu smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large meal, avoiding exercise immediately after meals, and being mindful of your dog’s eating habits. If you notice any signs of bloating or discomfort after meals, consult with your veterinarian.

Pancreatitis: A Painful Inflammatory Condition

Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the pancreas and can cause significant pain and discomfort for Shih Tzus. Common causes of pancreatitis in dogs include a high-fat diet or consuming fatty foods that lead to inflammation in the pancreas.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. If you suspect your Shih Tzu has pancreatitis, consult with your veterinarian right away.

Treatment options may involve hospitalization with intravenous fluids and medications for pain management. Dietary changes will likely need to be made as well.

Prevention of pancreatitis in Shih Tzus involves feeding a low-fat diet and avoiding any fatty foods or table scraps. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent this painful condition.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

While these less common digestive issues may not be as prevalent in Shih Tzus, it’s important to recognize when veterinary care is necessary. Any signs of stomach pain, bloating, vomiting, or diarrhea should be taken seriously and addressed promptly by your veterinarian. Additionally, as Shih Tzus are prone to certain digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea, it’s important to monitor their eating habits and bowel movements closely.

Any changes in consistency or frequency should be noted and discussed with your veterinarian. By being proactive about your Shih Tzu’s digestive health and seeking veterinary care when necessary, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.

Dietary Recommendations for Preventing Stomach Problems

Your Shih Tzu’s diet plays a significant role in preventing stomach problems. Feeding your dog nutritious and easily digestible food can go a long way in preventing common gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. To begin with, ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced and contains all the essential nutrients they need for optimal health.

Avoid feeding them table scraps, as these often contain ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. Instead, opt for high-quality commercial dog food that is specially formulated for small breeds like Shih Tzus.

In addition to selecting the right food, make sure you feed your dog at regular intervals throughout the day instead of one large meal. This approach prevents overeating and lessens the strain on their digestive system.

Feed Easily Digestible Food

Shih Tzus are also prone to certain food sensitivities that can cause stomach problems. Foods like beef and dairy products can be challenging to digest and might lead to gastrointestinal issues.

It is best to feed them easily digestible foods such as chicken, rice, sweet potato or pumpkin. It is essential to make changes gradually so that your Shih Tzu’s digestive system has time to adjust.

Exercise Recommendations to Prevent Stomach Problems

In addition to dietary adjustments, exercise is an effective way of preventing gastrointestinal problems in Shih Tzus. Regular physical activity helps keep their digestive system healthy by accelerating digestion processes. However, excessive exercise can be detrimental, especially if done too soon after meals which could lead to gastrointestinal upset.

Ensure you schedule exercise sessions before meals or at least 1-2 hours after eating. A moderate daily walk around the block or playing fetch in an enclosed area provides ample exercise opportunities without over-exerting your furry friend’s little legs.

Observe Your Dog’s Exercise Tolerance

It is essential to monitor your Shih Tzu’s exercise tolerance, especially when you engage them in new activities. Over-exercising can lead to exhaustion and dehydration, which could result in gastrointestinal distress.

Ensure that you do not push your fur baby beyond their limits. It is better to start with low-intensity exercises and build up gradually as they adapt.


Overall, preventing stomach problems in Shih Tzus requires a combination of the right diet and exercise regimen. Being mindful of what your dog eats and how much they exercise can help prevent common gastrointestinal issues and keep them healthy.

As a Shih Tzu owner, it is essential to understand the importance of managing nutrition intake for optimal health outcomes. By following the above tips on dietary recommendations and exercise guidelines, you can ensure that your furry friend remains healthy while avoiding digestive issues.


Shih Tzu stomach problems are a common issue among pet owners, but with proper understanding and preventive measures, these issues can be managed. In this article, we have discussed the most common digestive issues that shih tzus face such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

We also touched on less common but more severe digestive issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus and pancreatitis. It is important for pet owners to understand the causes of these digestive issues so that they can take necessary preventive measures to avoid them.

A healthy diet tailored to your shih tzu’s needs is crucial in preventing stomach problems. Additionally, exercise and regular veterinary check-ups are also important in keeping your furry friend healthy.

Summary of the article

Shih Tzu stomach problems can be caused by a variety of factors including diet, exercise habits and genetics. Common digestive issues include constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting which can be prevented through proper dieting habits and routine veterinary care. Less common but more serious digestive issues like GDV and pancreatitis require immediate medical attention.

Final thoughts on the importance of understanding digestive issues in shih tzus

As a pet owner of a Shih Tzu it is imperative to understand that these little dogs require special attention when it comes to their dietary requirements. As we have seen from this article Shih Tzus are prone to various stomach problems due to their sensitive digestive system,. With the right preventive measures though these health problems can be avoided or managed so that your furry friend lives a long healthy life.

Call to action for pet owners

In order for your Shih Tzu to live a happy and healthy life it’s important that you prioritize their dietary needs as well as regular veterinary check-ups.. We encourage all pet owners who own Shih Tzus to be proactive in ensuring that their furry friends are living a healthy life. Therefore, take the necessary steps and preventive measures outlined in this article to prevent stomach problems before they occur, and if they do arise, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your Shih Tzu will thank you for it!

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